At his closing speech at the CPAC conference, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh doubled down on his widely-controversial claim that he wanted President Barack Obama to fail, insisting that he meant what he said, and chastising those who were critical of him.
"This notion that I want the president to fail, this shows you the problem we've got. This is nothing more than common sense and to not be able to say it? Why in the world would I want what we just described: rampant government growth, wealth that is not being created yet is being spent? What is in this, what is possibly in this that any of us want to succeed? Did the Democrats want the war of Iraq to fail? They certainly did. And they not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail they proclaimed it a failure.... They hoped George Bush failed. So what is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?"
The crowd, watching in three individual ballrooms because of overcrowding, went absolutely wild.
"I know what's going on. We are in the aspects here of a historic presidency, I know that. But let me be honest again, I got over the historical aspects of that in November. President Obama is our president. President Obama stands for some things. He could be a Martian. He could be from Michigan. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me what his race is. It doesn't matter. He is liberal. That's what matters to me.... I want the country to survive. I want the country to succeed."
Limbaugh, whose speech went on more than an hour than what was planned, didn't end there.
"Ladies and gentleman of the United States, the Democrat Party has actively not just sought the failure of Republican presidents, and policies, and now war for the first time. The Democrat party does not stop at failure. Talk to judge Robert Bork, talk to justice Clarence Thomas about how they try to destroy lives, reputations and character. And I'm supposed to say I don't want the president to fail? We are in for a real battle. We are talking about the United States of America... remaining the country we were all born into and reared and grown into. And it is under assault, it has always been under assault. But it has never been under assault like this, from within."
The red meat speech was more than well received among the adoring conservative crowd which punctuated his address with repeated standing applause. On the flip side, it is hard to see how the elected officials of the Republican Party welcome this. Limbaugh's first declaration of hope for Obama's failure put a lot of GOPers on the line: did they stand with the brash talk show host against the president? Though, to be sure, there was little push back. Now, however, Limbaugh's invited more of the same line of questioning.